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  • Writer's pictureSteven Garner

Malta's Eurovision diva doubles and the talented triple-timer

Today, 21 September, is 'Jum I-Indipendenza' or Independence Day in the island nation of Malta, which commemorates the country gaining independence from the United Kingdom almost six decades ago in 1964.

We at Aussievision have decided to mark the occasion by celebrating two of the "double divas" and the "talented triple-timer" who have represented the 35-time Eurovision entrant nation. Malta debuted at the Contest just seven years after becoming an independent country.

Chiara - Voice of an 'Angel'

She's represented her home country on three occasions over a decade apart. She has two "podium finishes" to her credit, making her the third most successful Eurovision act never to have won the Contest (behind Germany's Katja Ebstein and Wind). She's known throughout the fandom by just one name. She is, of course, the legendary Chiara.

Chiara's Eurovision story began back in 1998 when she took to the Birmingham National Indoor Arena Stage to perform the romantic ballad 'The One That I Love', delivering a powerhouse vocal. She equalled Malta's best result thus far in the Contest - Mary Spiteri's third place in 1992 with 'Little Child'. Chiara ended the night a mere point behind the UK's home soil representative Imaani and her banger 'Where Are You?'

Impressively, Chiara would go one place better seven years later in 2005. Her self-penned slowie 'Angel' stormed the Malta Song for Europe national final. Malta was the only country to give winning nation Greece (courtesy of Helena Paparizou and 'My Number One') serious competition in Kyiv. Chiara equalled her nation's best result at the time (see below), and received the 2005 Press Award, which is Malta's only Marcel Bezençon Award win to date.

Despite not achieving the heights of her two previous appearances, Chiara's 2009 entry 'What If We' did give Malta its only Grand Final qualification in a five-year period (2007 to 2011), securing a creditable sixth place in its semi-final.

Ira Losco - A Maltese 'Wonder'

The title of first Maltese "double diva" goes to the country's first artist to take home Eurovision's silver medal and the runner-up in the two-horse race that was the 2002 Contest in Tallinn: 20-year-old Ira Losco and her laidback pop tune '7th Wonder'.

It would be 14 years before Ira Losco returned to a Eurovision stage, but her performance and success in Stockholm in 2016 marked something of a return to form for her homeland. 'Walk on Water' notched up Malta's best semi-final placing (3rd) of the Contest so far - breaking up a four-year non-qualification run. Malta made the left-hand side of the Grand Final scoreboard (12th out of 26 entries).

It was her 'Destiny'

The third and final artist featured in this article was no stranger to many Eurovision fans even before she sought to compete for Malta in the Netherlands at the start of a new decade. Having triumphed at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with 'Not My Soul', Destiny Chukunyere, a now 17-year-old vocalist, had her sights set on lifting the iconic crystal trophy. Destiny qualified to represent her country thanks to her X-Factor Malta 2020 victory and being mentored by one Ira Losco. Sadly, COVID-19 had other plans and prevented 'All Of My Love' becoming Malta's 33rd Eurovision entry.

A once-in-a-century pandemic was not going to stop the young soloist achieving her ... well destiny though, as she was confirmed as Malta's 2021 representative. Destiny would soon be touted as one of the Contest's favourites to win.

The French-titled upbeat number 'Je me casse', was only the fourth Maltese entry to feature lyrics not in English. The song won its semi-final convincingly and went on to finish 7th on the Saturday night, the country's best result since 'Angel' and its only Top Ten placing in a decade. Quite the achievement!

Thank you for joining us on this Maltese diva-tastic look back!

And Happy Independence Day to our Maltese readers and supporters!

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